As readers, the Gr. 4 students are always looking for new ways to help deepen their understanding of the texts they read in class. When it comes to nonfiction texts, we have mastered various reading strategies to help us understand the different aspects of informational text. Now, we have transitioned into practicing other reading strategies that can be used for both fiction and nonfiction text such as: finding the main idea, learning how to find the sequence of events, and comparing and contrasting.
When it comes to finding the main idea, we have learned tricks/tips such as asking ourselves guiding questions:
- What is the title of the text?
- Are there any photos/images that can help tell me more about what I am about to read?
- Are there any key terms/words/phrases that continue to repeat?
- What does the first sentence of the text introduce to you?
After practicing this strategy using various activities and reading stories the students learned that in the end finding the main idea helps readers to ultimately understand: what is the author trying to tell/teach me?
The second strategy we tackled this past month was identifying the sequence of events. We learned that this strategy may not be applicable for all types of stories or books but can be really helpful when we read historical text (whether it is fictional or nonfictional). We also learned that finding the sequence of events is something we do on a daily basis especially when we retell stories like we do every Monday for Morning Meeting time!
Finally, we discussed when and how we can compare and contrast as readers. We learned that we can compare and contrast characters, settings, themes/lessons and even books that share the same story lines. As a whole class we read two versions of The Three Little Pigs where we compared and contrasted the way the authors retold this classical story. The kids went on to read two stories: Hercules’ Quest and Zomo’s Friends. One was a Greek myth, while the other was a proverb/adage. Students learned that even when stories may come from different cultures we can still find similarities and differences in the stories we read!